Rising labor costs in China may lead to pricier electronics, manufacturing relocation

Vlad Savov
V. Savov|06.08.10

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Rising labor costs in China may lead to pricier electronics, manufacturing relocation
You might recall that Foxconn, faced with the searing spotlight of the world's attention on its working conditions, recently announced not one but two wage increases for its employees, which is now looking like part of a larger trend in China toward higher pay. The city of Beijing has said it'll be raising its minimum wage by 20 percent, to 960 Yuan ($140) a month, and is expected to be followed by others. The New York Times pins this on numerous factors, including growing competition for workers, state authorities insisting on higher standards, and a national policy effort to ease the gap between rich and poor. All good news, you might think, but these worker-friendly measures are taking their toll on manufacturing costs, and now there's talk of companies relocating production to cheaper locales.

Vietnam, India and Indonesia are the prime suspects for taking production duties away from China, with some companies also apparently contemplating shifting to poorer regions within the nation. These changes are unlikely to perturb high-end electronics manufacturing in the short term, due to its more sophisticated infrastructure and supply chain, but the end consumer might still feel their effect in the form of higher prices. Inflation within China and a projected increase in its currency value are likely to drive up the cost of exports, so we'd advise buying what you need sooner rather than later.

[Thanks, Daniel]
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